EBD - Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties


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EBD or Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties can appear in a whole range of human expressions and feelings. Consequently there has always been a variety of definitions.


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The spectrum of EBD is wide and ranges from deviant to disturbed, from straightforward naughtiness through to quite complex psychiatric disorders and from nuisance value to challenging in the extreme. The revised SEN Code of Practice (DfES 2001b) Section 7:60 provides a protracted definition including the terms withdrawn, isolated, disruptive, disturbing, hyperactive, lacking concentration and presenting challenging behavior.


It also creates new terminology by naming Behavioural, Emotional and Social Development as one of the four areas of Special Educational Needs. For the terminology EBD to be used in its generally accepted form, quite severe recurring emotional or Behavioural problems must occur in home, social or school situations. Perhaps the best definition that is applicable to most children with EBD would be that owing to an emotional difficulty or disturbance they refuse or cannot make full use of the educational opportunities offered to them and are consequently difficult or challenging to manage.


In addition to this the majority of these children have parallel difficulties within their families and communities. They are frequently ‘at the end of the line’ in one or more areas of their lives. Looked After Children, namely those involved with or under the care of Social Services are a major group in any specialist provision for EBD pupils. The lack of a stable home environment is also becoming an increasingly common feature, particularly in cases of more complex difficulties. The difficulty of identifying suitable foster placements for challenging children also makes for a small group that have no identified care base whatsoever. It is important to point out, however, that not all children with EBD have these difficulties because of their family background or social environment. EBD is also associated with some genetic or biological conditions - such as Attachment Disorders, Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome, Fragile X, Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder or Asperger's Syndrome - the symptoms and effects of which may cause the child frustration and distress leading to the development of EBD.


Similarly, EBD may also be associated with exceptionally high levels of ability. In cases of genetic or biological conditions, the management of a child's associated EBD difficulties will normally form part of a wider programme of special education that addresses all of his or her particular needs. This will be provided either in a mainstream school - if suitable provision can be made - or in a special school with appropriate expertise.





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Links to information on AutismDyslexia | Dyscalculia | Dyspraxia | EBDHI - Hearing Impaired | MLD Moderate Learning Difficulties | PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties | PRU's (Pupil Referral Units) | SEBD (Social Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties) | SLD - Severe Learning Difficulties | SpLD - Specific-Learning-Difficulties | VI - Visually Impaired


See information on common teaching abbreviations and teaching terms